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Making Of 'Final Stand'

| Your Rating:
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(Score 4.72 out of 5 after 76 Votes)
Date Added: 24th October 2011
Software used:


What's up, guys? My name is Brandon Martynowicz. I have been working as a CG matte artist/environment artist for the last six years in the film/game industry. My primary skills include modeling, texturing, shading, lighting and rendering.

I have put together a short "Making Of" of my latest personal piece, called Final Stand. This image was inspired by a quick pencil sketch I did a while back. A big part of creating this image was to keep practicing my skill-set, and to play with composition and lighting. I love doing personal projects because they give me the freedom to create what I envision, rather than being under constant art direction.


By starting off with a sketch, I immediately knew I wanted to create something vast in size and scale, something old-ish, dirty, grimy, urban and somewhat sci-fi-esque. This led me to Google, which lead me to the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. This is a well know existing place, so references were quite easy to find. I immediately fell in love with the size, scale, weathering and amount of detail in this city (Fig.01).

Fig. 01


The modeling process for this piece was extremely simple. Low res building facades were poly-modeled in Maya in a modular way. UVs were laid out per object once the model was complete. External pieces such as window frames, over (and under) hanging deck pieces, AC units and pipes were also modeled in a low res fashion. Model the detail that you know you will see - forget about the rest. I knew I would be relying heavily on textures and paintover, so I did not go too crazy on modeling detail (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

After the modular building facades were finished, I decided to do a quick layout and play around with the composition. This is where I knew I wanted the camera to be down near ground level, left side, and that I wanted the building to curve around from left to right (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Textures and Shaders

I will always be pulled towards the "tightly pack your UVs", "use only the texture resolution you need" and, "make sure you texel density is consistent" type of in-game art logic. For this piece I used around 20 different 1k and 2k texture maps. Also, each map has its own specular map and bump map, so around 60 maps were created for the entire piece. With this many different shaders and texture maps, it is critical to keep everything properly named and organized (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

The shaders were setup with the basic V-Ray power shader (Fig.05):
  • Diffuse component: painted and color corrected photo-based maps, primarily collected from
  • Reflection component: greyscale specular breakup map piped into the reflection and Rglossiness slots. Reflection was used with the glossiness turned down (around .95), Fresnel reflections turned on, IOR based on the material properties and subdivs around 24-36 (always in powers of 12).
  • Bump component: a grayscale, high frequency image used on all shaders.

Fig. 05

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
LiuChengheng on Sat, 18 May 2013 10:06pm
amazing!so beautiful
Brandon on Wed, 13 February 2013 5:23am
Adrian: FBX works best for me. Make sure you get your unit conversion setup properly first. V-Ray loves real world scale geo. E.Crickard: What I mean by "model the detail you know you will see" is thoughts like the big shapes, things that will have silhouette, things that will cast shadows and good AO. Assembly of all these assets to create the scene, one word..... patience. =) -B
Badder on Sun, 06 January 2013 9:14pm
make gta 6 for us please great work ... hats off
E.crickard on Sun, 23 September 2012 3:19pm
For the modeling, how did you decide what was important and what wasn't? im referring to when you said "Model the detail that you know you will see - forget about the rest." and then how did you combine all those separately modelled elements together and create that environment?
PlasticFrogCG on Thu, 23 February 2012 5:35pm
Thanks for posting this excellent step by step! For years I have been wanting to make a detailed scene like this, but always got hung up on where to start and how to go about modeling it. I had heard of the modular method before and saw it in use, but no one ever broke it down like you did into the individual parts! Being able to see those and then look at how you grouped them together until you had something you liked was a great inspiration. Now if I could just wrap my head around the lighting thing...well, better to get the model done first.
Sukhmeet on Fri, 17 February 2012 9:23pm
This is a amazing ... superb,no more words!
Anas K A on Wed, 08 February 2012 8:07am
Its fantasticcc!!! hw did you do this??? amazing... it was my big dream to create a frame like this,with its fantastic perfection. my wish to become a CG artist. will u help me???
Adrian on Thu, 12 January 2012 11:56am
Thank you for posting this. It's a great inspiration and amazing. Like you I also like to model with Maya. May I ask what is your favorite export method for getting your models from Maya to 3Ds?
James Gardner on Thu, 24 November 2011 11:02am
Hi, the picture is amazing. Was wondering how you did the floor. Displacement map? its quite highly detailed cracked concrete and such. None of that is apparent in the flat shaded model render you show. Again, amazing picture!
Zyg on Thu, 27 October 2011 2:48am
Looks very complicated. Amazing how you start with some simple line drawings and add texture to render the final piece. This requires masterful skill in using the software tools. Good job.
Brandon on Wed, 26 October 2011 7:19pm
David, If you look at Fig.05, on the left is the maps I created for all the windows. Bottom left is a b/w map named alpha, that alpha value is used as transparency for the windows, which are simple poly cards. As for the UV's, yes I made tons of cards for the windows, doors, ect, unwrapped them, and move them around in the UV editor accordingly to fit the images on the texture sheet. Hope that explains it a little better. If not, hit me an email.. -B
David on Tue, 25 October 2011 6:29pm
"poly plane with alpha window texture" What is an Alpha window texture? In your textures, I see you have all your window or door types condensed to one image. Does this mean you have to uv unwrap your geometry to fit the texture? Thanks
Brandon on Tue, 25 October 2011 5:12pm
Alex, It is hard to say,I worked on this piece after work for the last few months, putting in a few hours here and there.
Brandon on Tue, 25 October 2011 4:15am
Thanks Julien. I use Maya for modeling and UV layout because I am much quicker with it for modeling, and more familiar with the UV tools. Crazy I know, I need to learn Max for modeling.. ;)
Alex on Mon, 24 October 2011 9:08pm
Amazing work! How much time did it take to complete?
Julien on Mon, 24 October 2011 5:41pm
Awesome dude ! I love the mood & especially the composition : my eyes followed exactly the same path you described ! Just a question, why using Maya & Max ? Just more comfortable with Maya for modeling ?
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